The Mathematics Department seeks to provide an education that provides all our students with a proficiency in mathematics while simultaneously conveying the beauty and elegance of mathematics. In the seventh grade, this might mean reviewing computational skills one day and investigating geometric transformations using Geometer’s Sketchpad the next. For a twelfth grader, it might mean making the connection between the infinite Taylor Series studied in Advanced Calculus and the repeating decimal numbers they learned about in seventh grade. One of the strengths of the mathematics department at Riverdale is that it is possible to have the same teacher in seventh grade and twelfth grade. These teachers are in a position to make connections between topics that might otherwise go unnoticed and unexplored.
Our curriculum is designed so that each student is provided with an appropriately challenging course of study. Classes are grouped by ability in order to allow students to meet their potential in mathematics. The most talented and dedicated students have the opportunity to study mathematics in greater depth and at an accelerated pace. It is possible for students who excel in mathematics at the regular level to make the transition to honors level mathematics; this is usually accomplished by completing summer work and with the permission of the Mathematics Department. Our program also allows talented students entering the school with a weak background in mathematics to join the honors program after having mastered the basic skills at an appropriate pace and with permission of the Department.
We place an increased emphasis on problem-solving skills, on reasoning and communication, on establishing connections between the various mathematical disciplines, and on the use of both computer and calculator technology as mathematical tools.
More Than Numbers
"Finding ways to keep kids excited about math makes math exciting for me," says Jazmin Sherwood, who teaches sixth and seventh grade math.
Monika Le, a Middle and Upper School math teacher and the adviser for the Middle School math club, has a special interest in helping girls become confident math students.
Math 6 is designed to improve students’ ability to interpret and display data, solve word problems, and perform computations with whole numbers, integers, fractions, and decimals. Students will be introduced to using variables to represent unknown quantities and solving basic algebraic equations. A variety of problem-solving strategies will be emphasized as students explore topics in number theory, geometry, measurement, and probability. Grades are based on daily homework assignments, weekly quizzes, and unit tests.
A pull-out level of our Math 6 course is offered to those students who excelled in mathematics at their previous school. These students demonstrated the ability to think both critically and creatively and can assimilate material at a faster pace in order to allow for a deeper investigation of the material.
Mathematics 7: Pre-Algebra
A course designed to strengthen students' competence in arithmetic and to introduce them to the concepts and skills that they need in subsequent courses in mathematics and related fields. Topics include fractions and decimals, integers, non-base 10 systems, algebraic expressions and equations, ratios, proportions and percents, graphing in the coordinate plane, topics in plane and solid geometry, roots and radicals, problem-solving, number theory, and introduction to statistics and probability. Grades are based on daily homework assignments, quizzes, and unit tests. An examination worth 20% of the second semester grade is given in June.
An honors level of our Math 7 course is offered to those students who have successfully completed Mathematics 6 (Pull-Out). Students new to Riverdale may also be placed in Math 7 Honors, as may returning students who both excelled in our regular Math 6 course and demonstrated the ability to think critically and creatively. Such candidates are able to process the material at a slightly faster pace in order to allow for a deeper investigation of the material.
Algebra I is a course that covers the basic structure and techniques of algebra and develops students’ facility in applying algebraic concepts and skills. Topics include the real number system, equations and expressions, absolute values and inequalities, linear equations and inequalities, systems of linear equations and inequalities, word problems, polynomials, rational expressions and equations, quadratic equations, irrational numbers, and an introduction to functions. An examination, if given at the end of each semester, will count for 20% of the semester grade.